Lewis confident in his comeback efforts

The bad luck story of Deantre Lewis is well documented. In 2013 the junior running back is eager to write a new chapter in his Arizona State tenure.

In February 2011, Lewis was hit below the waist by a stray bullet in a shooting while he was visiting a relative's home celebrating the birth of his sister's baby.

Two years later, Lewis said he feels like he's at 100 percent and is back practicing at running back in the spring trying to turn his fortunes around.

"I feel good, I feel great, this is the first time I can honestly say I feel like myself," Lewis said. "I'm able to make the cuts, accelerate, I just feel good."

Lewis is a prime example that hard work and dedication are the keys overcoming adversity. Last year, when Lewis wasn't getting any touches on offense, coach Todd Graham moved him to the other side of the ball to play safety.

After only playing in nine games and tallying four tackles last season, getting back to the offensive side of ball is a favorable opportunity for him, but he won't rule out another stint at defensive back.

"Right now, we are working me on offense, so that's a good thing," Lewis said. "I love offense, I love having the ball in my hands and being able to do stuff with it but if they want me to go to defense I will do defense."

In the first practice of the spring, Lewis was behind Marion Grice and D.J. Foster in reps at running back as expected after the tandem's respective campaigns last season. But when he did get a touch, Lewis was explosive in and out of his cuts, showing flashes of his freshman year.

His depth chart position on this year's team is up for debate, but like any player, Lewis just hopes to make big plays when he gets chances.

"My role will probably be to come in and give them big plays here and there and hopefully make an impact in the game whenever I get chances," Lewis said.

A player that's been getting a lot of attention around the team is Lewis' Norco (Calif.) high school teammate and good friend, Carl Bradford, who's excelled at Devil backer in 2012 and this season is taking reps at WILL backer as he tries to replace outgoing senior Brandon Magee.

"I'm happy for him," Lewis said. "We grew up together. He was there when I was getting all the hype my freshman year, so this year I'm going to be there for him. This is something we both dreamed of, playing college ball together, so hopefully we ball out this season coming up."

This year marks the second year of the Todd Graham era in Tempe. In just one year, Graham has completely changed the culture of ASU football. An all-business mentality with a hard working and hustle-oriented attitude has the Sun Devils looking like legitimate Rose Bowl contenders this upcoming season.

Lewis who was a part of the loosely ran program of former head coach Dennis Erickson, said the change to Graham was a major one, but he feels that everybody is now fully acclimated to the way things are now.

"I think we transitioned very well, everybody is starting to pick up on stuff," Lewis said. "We looked a lot better this practice than we did spring practice last year, a lot better. That's something that we've worked on all offseason since the winter session of our training; we've worked hard, no one gave up, everybody made dramatic gains."

The Rose Bowl is prevalent around the ASU football facilities, and the coaches and players aren't shy about what they expect to do this year. As they break full team huddles with "Rose Bowl champs" and have posters all around their facilities with the trophy's picture on it, it's crystal clear what the Sun Devils' primary objective is this year.

Does Deantre Lewis think this Sun Devil team can accomplish this lofty goal?

"Of course, all we have to do is keep working hard, and doing the stuff we are doing right now, keep sprinting on and off the field, you know just the little stuff that will help us win," he said. "There was stuff last year, we barely lost by a couple of points in games, that's little mistakes from being tired and not thinking straight so we were making mistakes.

"This year we are working on that and I think we are doing pretty good right now."

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